On October 10, 2019, a new partnership was announced that aims to better connect science, policy, and business interests to accelerate both the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes and the region’s sustainable development.
The International Association for Great Lakes Research and the Council of the Great Lakes Region made the announcement at the State of Lake Huron Conference in Saginaw, Michigan. The event was co-hosted by the two organizations and the Great Lakes Beach Association.
“The economy and environments of the Great Lakes are vitally important to both countries, yet conversations about the region’s development and protection are often disconnected,” notes Mark Fisher, president and CEO of CGLR.
“The partnership between CGLR and IAGLR will serve as a unique platform for connecting scientific experts, policy makers and lawmakers at all levels of government, companies and business leaders across sectors, nongovernmental organizations, youth, and civil society to each other’s dialogues, with the goal of finding solutions to the region’s interrelated socioeconomic and environmental challenges,” he added.
The Great Lakes watershed—shared by the United States and Canada, including eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces—is a globally significant freshwater resource requiring special protection and management. The watershed provides drinking water to millions of Americans and Canadians, and supports a regional economy that serves as the engine of commerce in and between both countries. The watershed is also one of the world’s most diverse, with 3,500 species of plants and wildlife and more than 250 species of fish.
“A strategic goal of IAGLR is to engage its considerable scientific expertise to better inform policy decisions pertaining to the many transboundary socioeconomic and environmental problems facing the Great Lakes,” notes Paul Sibley, president of the research-based association.
“The formalized partnership between IAGLR and CGLR provides a mechanism to achieve this goal and reflects the growing recognition that solving Great Lakes issues requires integrative collaboration that extends beyond traditional boundaries and approaches; one that incorporates a diversity of perspectives and expertise,” he explained.
The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a member-run, binational nonprofit organization that is dedicated to deepening the United States-Canada relationship in the Great Lakes Region. Its focus is on creating a stronger and more dynamic culture of collaboration in harnessing the region’s economic strengths and assets, improving the well-being and prosperity of the Region’s citizens, and protecting the Great Lakes for future generations.
It achieves this mandate by conducting evidenced-based policy research, connecting diverse perspectives at events like the Great Lakes Economic Forum, and acting as a strong voice for the region’s varied economic, social, and environmental interests.
The member-run International Association for Great Lakes Research is a scientific organization made up of researchers studying the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world, and their watersheds, as well as those with an interest in such research. IAGLR members encompass all scientific disciplines with a common interest in the management of large lake ecosystems on many levels.
It advances its mandate in part by communicating the research of its members through the annual Conference on Great Lakes Research and other lake-level meetings, as well as its highly respected Journal of Great Lakes Research.